‘The concept of defrauded homebuyers will disappear once and forever’

Issues of the housing policy, budget and initiative projects were discussed at the 9th session of the Kazan City Duma

‘The concept of defrauded homebuyers will disappear once and forever’
Photo: Oleg Tikhonov (archive)

At the 9th session of the Kazan City Duma it was explained how defrauded homebuyers’ problems were solved, the progress of the programme designed to rehouse residents of dilapidated homes, how many Kazan families had improved their living conditions in the last few years. An expansion of the Tatarstan capital’s budget and declaration of citizens’ projects were considered separately. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Over 13,000 families have improved their living conditions in the last five years

“1,189 Kazan families have improved their living conditions in the last nine months this year. About 1,6 billion rubles have been spent on this purpose from republican and federal budgets,” said head of Kazan’s Housing Policy Office Renat Shamsutdinov.

Over 13,000 families have improved their living conditions in the last five years.

“The improvement of citizens’ living conditions is one of our priority areas of work,” commented Kazan Mayor Ilsur Metshin. “Today effective instruments of both republican and municipal, federal programmes are implemented in the city. As it has been said in the report, in general we keep a good pace. And for us, the 13,000 families that have improved their living conditions in the last five years is a good indicator of the job done in this area.”

Renat Shamsutdinov also noted that nowadays all veterans and their family members who are on the list of people who need their living conditions to be improved have been provided with housing. Photo: kzn.ru

Help for large and young families with improving living conditions is one of the priority tasks of the authorities according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s instruction. What is done here in Kazan:

  • A programme of providing young Kazan families has been in force since 2012.
  • Large families are provided with certificates from the republican budget to buy homes in a social mortgage programme. In Kazan, the programme has been functioning since 2005 and remains one of the most popular ones among the citizens.
  • Apart from federal and republican programmes, Housing for Citizens municipal programme has been implemented in Kazan for 14 years. Its members buy well-appointed flats at 7% a year. The price for a flat with the basic finishing is 20% below the market price. Due to a big number of petitions from Kazan citizens, the list of categories of citizens who can participate in the Housing for Citizens programme was expanded. Now those who aren’t registered in the city are included in it too: it is enough to have worked in Kazan for two years.

Shamsutdinov also noted that nowadays all veterans and their family members who are on the list of people who need their living conditions to be improved have been provided with housing. 1,5 billion rubles have been allocated for this goal. 1,624 war veterans have improved their living conditions since 2006 when this programme started to operate.

“Since subsidies aren’t enough to buy a flat in the commercial market, the management of the republic decided to give veterans a chance of buying one-bedroom flats with an area of 36 square metres in the blocks of flats built in the social mortgage programme only via subsidies,” said Shamsutdinov. “A veteran can decide to buy a two- or three-bedroom flat, in this case, they will have to pay the difference on their own.”

Apart from federal and republican programmes, the Housing for Citizens municipal programme has been implemented in Kazan for 14 years. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Within the state programme, the federal budget allocated money to provide war veterans, citizens who were discharged from military service, disabled people, first responders of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, those who left the Far North and internally displaced people. 1,032 citizens representing these categories have improved their living conditions for a total of about 900 million rubles since 2010. According to Shamsutdinov, today it has been almost possible to get rid of the queue to provide people who were discharged from military service with housing.

“We start to see light at the end of the tunnel in dilapidated housing”

“The office intensively works to detect empty residential areas. In the last nine months, we have managed to vacate 37 residential areas through the court, people in the queue are provided with them,” said the speaker.

Shamsutdinov was asked how the registry of free dwellings was made. The head of the Housing Policy Office of the Kazan Executive Office explained that managing companies, citizens themselves and police workers provide with big help, they inform when a building is vacated.

“The process takes much time, it is done through a notary’s office or the court and takes from six months to a year,” Shamsutdinov said.

The programme of rehousing people from dilapidated housing in Kazan that were recognised ramshackle as of 1 January 2017 makes good progress and is about to end. At first, it was designed to last until 2025, while it is planned to finish it by 2023. About 975 million rubles were given to implement the programme.

In 2019 and 2020, 147 families moved from 20 dilapidated houses to new well-appointed flats. It is scheduled to rehouse another 13 dilapidated houses with 100 residential areas where 294 people live till late 2022. According to the programme for 2022, which began prematurely, another 18 houses should be rehoused.

The programme of rehousing people from dilapidated housing in Kazan that were recognised ramshackle as of 1 January 2017 makes good progress and is about to end. Photo: Roman Khasayev

Shamsutdinov reminded the audience that a huge job was done in this area in Kazan from 1996 to 2005 when around 5,500 tumbledown houses were rehoused. 33,000 Kazan families who were built more than 2 million square metres of housing moved to new flats. Shamsutdinov says that no Russian region had such a scale of rehousing people from dilapidated housing.

The federal law On Fund For Reform of Housing and Utilities Services came into force in 2008. It envisages co-financing of the programme from the federal centre and demarcates rehousing terms. The first stage included the houses recognised ramshackle as of 1 January 2012. Within this stage, 109 ramshackle houses where some 3,500 citizens lived were rehoused from 2012 to 2017. The funding of the programme totalled 1,9 billion rubles.

“We start to see light at the end of the tunnel in ramshackle housing,” Metshin commented on the data. “The terms of the programme on rehousing citizens from ramshackle houses reduced from six to four stages. Hopefully, we will soon be able to complete this programme too.”

New well-appointed flats with the same number of bedrooms are provided to homeowners as property, while tenants are given the flats for free according to social rent agreements. The area meeting today’s standards is even 30-40% bigger than the area of the old flat, and these additional square metres are given to Kazan citizens free.

In late August, Russian President Vladimir Putin tasked regions with launching a new programme aimed to rehouse the blocks of flats recognised as ramshackle in January 2021. Kazan has 49 houses of this kind. Also, another 11 houses have been recognised dilapidated in 2021 where 128 families live. The mayor paid attention to the fact that it was also important to provide people with disabilities with housing meeting accessibility requirements.

“We start to see light at the end of the tunnel in ramshackle housing,” Metshin commented. Photo: realnoevremya.ru

Special attention is paid to equity construction. In Kazan. 6,304 defrauded homebuyers got a chance of moving into their flats, while 2,265 people have already moved to new flats since the beginning of the year.

“A lot of Kazan citizens have given the long-awaited housewarming party, and I hope the concept of defrauded homebuyers will soon disappear once and forever from our lives,” Metshin stressed.

Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

The budget was also considered at the session

As head of the Kazan Finance Office Irek Mukhametshin said, according to the regulations adopted by the government of the republic, the amount of non-repayable receipts to the city from the budget increased by 313,500 million rubles. The biggest amount of money was allocated to revoke land parcels with compensation for losses in road construction — 96,3 million rubles, to provide anti-terrorist protection — 86,8 million rubles, to maintain municipal institutions — 53,7 million rubles, for financial support of transport enterprises to pay for leasing according to rent agreements — 50 million rubles.

Thanks to the remaining money in the city’s budget, it was offered to increase the costs by 31,3 million rubles. Additional expenses of the Kazan budget for 2021 total 853 million rubles for measures taken to provide anti-terrorist protection (270,7 million rubles are planned to be spent on this), small and major repairs of municipal buildings (154,4 million rubles), to maintain and repair the road network (140,6 million rubles), etc.

The budget of the republic was transferred 191,6 million rubles received in the budget in 2020 but weren’t used. Incomes of the revised budget amount to 31 billion rubles, costs do 34 billion rubles, the deficit is 3 billion rubles.

As head of the Kazan Finance Office Irek Mukhametshin said, the amount of non-repayable receipts to the city from the budget increased by 313,500 million rubles. Photo: kzn.ru

The regulation on the declaration of initiative projects was approved in Kazan

The regulation on the order of declaration, addition, discussion and consideration of initiative projects as well as their contest-based selection was approved at the session too. Bodies of local public self-governments as well as citizens above 16 years can offer to introduce an initiative project. The possibility of citizens’ participation in these projects and public control over their implementation are a compulsory element of initiative projects.

“An initiative project must contain the formulation of a problem that has a priority meaning for citizens or a part of them, a description of expected results, a preliminary calculation of necessary costs, its planned deadlines and some other information,” head of the administration of the Kazan Executive Committee Bulat Aleyev said. “This will facilitate a greater engagement of citizens in solving priority problems, developing public infrastructure by involving citizens into resolving issues of socio-economic development of their territory, increasing the efficacy and rational use of public money.”

One of the specifics of initiative projects is that they can be implemented not only with funding from the city and the republic’s budgets but also with interested sides’ money, property and personal engagement.

The regulation on the order of declaration, addition, discussion and consideration of initiative projects as well as their contest-based selection was approved at the session too. Photo: kzn.ru

One of the attendees expressed her fear that such initiative projects could consequently not correspond to their true purpose and facilitate the promotion of initiative at the top, not at the bottom as it is assumed first. Deputies supported the project of the decision and approved changes that were made.

Maria Korotkova
Tatarstan